Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Changing Times

I've heard it said in the trade press recently that this is the year of 4k. Well yes, that's what the pros want (and ever higher resolution) and that's definitely what the trade wants given the need for continuous churn of products to induce profit. But there's a substrata of need within education and corporate work and also to there's a need to make available Digital Cinematography concepts for television work. So Blackmagic Design, well know for graphics and processing cards and storage solutions, who then went on to buy Da Vinci Colour Grading software, have now gone on to creating their first camera. Well known Digital Imaging Technician, Jonathan Smiles has been quoted as saying that "as soon as light hits the lens it's all post production", and whilst I reject that quite heartily because it disables a tier of artistic input (i.e. the cinematographer), Blackmagic's intervention makes this statement all the more true.

I've always considered that the job of a good cinematographer is to be the chief quality control clerk of the production and that they of all the roles should understand completely the pathway from light into lens through to light emitting from or bouncing off the screen - so the Blackmagic camera which comes with connectivity through thunderbolt and then through Da Vinci Resolve management system (including scopes) takes the whole Digital Cinematography concept one stage further on in its development from what it once was in the age of photo chemical imaging.

In Los Angeles the Global Cinematography Institute understand that everything is changing and now seek to train the modern cinematographer right across the whole gamut of roles in the image making process - they call this Expanded Cinematography. Though still regarding lighting as the highest achievement of human sensibility, akin to the work of a renaissance painter, they know that the cinematographer has this earlier responsibility that has been shirked since post and colour grading started to take over in the ‘90’s. Times are again changing and it would do well for the trainers and pedagogues who teach the new generation of film-makers to be aware of the way that things are realigning. Digital Video is dead, long live data cinematography.